Friday, May 13, 2011

Ron Paul Officially Enters the Race

Ron Paul declared his candidacy earlier today. Paul's decision to enter the race comes as a surprise to no one; he had already formed a presidential exploratory committee and participated in the first primary debate on May 5th.

Paul is only the second candidate on the Elephant Watcher roster to officially declare his candidacy. The first, Gingrich, declared two days ago. Gingrich and Paul may be the early birds, or it could be a sign that we are approaching the second phase of the primary season. You may follow the official status of all the candidates on the Campaign Status page.

Paul has no clear path to the nomination, as he does not poll well in any state. The fact that Paul has virtually no chance of winning does not make him unique. What sets him apart from the other candidates is that he does not seem to care much about winning. Nor is he attempting to play the "spoiler." Paul simply wants to promote his libertarian views to a wider audience.

Even Paul's critics give him credit for one thing: He speaks his mind, and he is consistent. This is one beneficial consequence of not caring whether you win the race: You can tell the truth as you see it. Paul does not need to pander to anyone.

Paul uses the primary debates as his main platform. Though Paul does not poll well enough to stand a chance at winning, he should poll well enough to earn an invitation to every debate until the field narrows. As long as the debate sponsors want to include candidates like Cain, they will need to include Paul. And no one loves the debates more than Paul, where his fans often sit in the audience and cheer wildly at everything he says.

When he ran in 2008, Paul was the target of much hostility for his criticism of American foreign policy. When other candidates wanted to get some applause, there was usually an opportunity for them to attack Paul. This time, he will have a more sympathetic audience, since more Republicans are questioning the military's continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Obama's new "kinetic action" in Libya). However, Paul recently suggested he would not have ordered the killing of Bin Laden, so he will remain a punching bag for other candidates.

News posts related to Paul will have the Paul "tag". For detailed assessment of Paul's strengths, weaknesses, and strategy, view his Profile. Elephant Watcher calculates Paul has a 0% chance of winning the nomination.